Scores of parents of private secondary school students in Ogun State yesterday staged a protest against compulsory COVID-19 test slammed on their wards by the state government.
The protesting parents accused Governor Dapo Abiodun- led administration of demanding N25, 000 for each returning boarding student of private schools to be tested before resumption of classes.
The parents, who besieged the 250-bed MTR Hospital, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta – one of the three designated centres for mandatory coronavirus and malaria tests – said the N25,000 was not only outrageous but queried the rationale behind the levy.
Public and private schools in the state are billed to resume tomorrow in preparation for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) exams on August 17 by SS3 students.
Some of the aggrieved parents, who spoke with our correspondent, condemned the state government for imposing levy on students of private schools while allowing their counterparts in public schools to return without mandatory coronavirus and malaria tests.
Other parents, who claimed they had lost their jobs and means of livelihood to COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, wondered how the government expected them to get N25, 000 to pay for each child.
They argued that the disparity between private and public schools was contrary to the electioneering promises of the governor.
Speaking during the protest, Vice-Chairman, Parent- Teacher Association (PTA) of one of the private schools, Dr. Kehinde Sanwo, said all returning students in the state must be treated equally.
She said: “The parents here are good citizens of Ogun State and are tax payers. It is so disheartening that we are here at the MTR Hospital, the venue for COVID-19 test. “When we arrived, we were told pay N25, 000. Whereas, some people who arrived earlier paid nothing.
So, we don’t know where the decision came from. Some of us have more than two children, why this segregation?” But Director of Public Health in the state Ministry of Health, Dr. Olukayode Soyinka, said he was not aware of the N25, 000 COVID-19 test levy on private schools students.